A group of students from Afghanistan studying in different colleges in the city had the feel of a homely ‘Diwali’ on Saturday courtesy Anam prem, an organisation working for the marginalised.

Family and friends of C.M. Samant, Goa activist of ‘Anam Prem’, had gathered at their sixth floor flat at a colony on outskirts of the city on Diwali evening. The women in the family led by Meera Samant welcomed the group of 15-20 students with traditional Diwali aarti, offering flowers and applying tilak on their forehead.

Touched by the gesture and warmth, the students repeatedly thanked the hosts for the “family Diwali” they were experiencing.

Welcoming the students, Mr. Samant said that Anam Prem families every year organised such integration programmes with foreign students not only in Goa, but also in Pune, Mumbai and Hyderabad too.Various entertainment programmes including songs and dances involving family members, friends and relatives of Mr. Samant were held. The Afghan students reciprocated by presenting their ‘dance’ on the occasion.

Mita Samant told the guests that the root of al activities of “Anam Prem” was selfless love. The recently held three-day “Mela” in Goa saw around 100 blind children and activists campaigning for the visually challenged from four districts of Maharashtra.

The guests later savoured special Diwali sweets served including the traditional “Fov”. The programme ended with everyone lighting fireworks.

Najieebullah Yalgoz, a final year student of LLB at V.M. Salgaoncar College of Law thanked the family and also spoke of Gandhiji’s message of pursuit of truth in his autobiography “My Experiments with Truth”, which he said had a lasting impression on him.

The students spoke to The Hindu of their good experience in Goa and also spoke of how such an experience carried the message that irrespective of different religions and national boundaries, all human beings were ultimately bound by bonds of love and humanity.

The students included Shamsulhaq - Tabish, Noor Ahmad, from BBA Rosary College; Vaisuddin Caizy, Rahman Nazar Belim, Abdul Fayaz, from V.M. Salgaoncar College of Law; Besmillah Nazari and Mohammad Yasin, Hamidullah, from Don Bosco College; and Farid Ahmad, Gulam Hussain, Mowlan Gorash, from Dhempe College.